Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby inzane on Mon 3/Aug/09 9:02pm

So the nasty grey clag that smothered Christchurch in June is a distant memory as a change in the weather patterns have seen warmer Nor-West weather patterns. For Chch this means warmer sunny days while the weather is nasty in the Southern Alps. All the tracks up the Port hills are dry again, and there was even dust on my bike after going for a ride yesterday!

Nick Browns work on the track from the top of Worsleys Track – Marleys Hill is a fantastic piece of work!! The track is known as “The Flying Nun”.  This track has been up the hill for many years and was built zig zagging down the sunny face of the Marleys hill. The changes that Nick has made to the track really show much the building of specific mountain bike tracks has advanced over the last 10 years. Before Nick started reshaping the track it was a fun little track, but the radius of the corners meant that people had to brake hard coming into the corner and then pedal to accelerate back up to speed once traversing again. This caused big braking bump holes to appear before the corners and often wore the track surface into a single rut about 20cm wide and 15 cm deep.  The fact that there were little or no grade reversals in the track also meant that the water would run down the rut caused by bike wheels and cause even more erosion of the track.

What Nick has done is choose a line that makes the radius of most of the corners very wide (5 to 10 meter radius as compared to the old 1 or 2 meter radius) and he has managed to incorporate this by putting a grade reversal into the track that shoots you uphill before the corner, which means you often do not need to brake for the corner. He has looked very carefully at water drainage and ensured that the track sheets the water off the track very regularly and that there is nowhere that water can pool on the track. There is a lot of rock on the hillside, and he has used many of the rocks to armour the trail surface. He has also ensured that he has built lines that flow nicely at speed on a bike. There is nowhere on the track that you need to grab big handfuls of brake to throw out the anchor so you can get around a corner. All of the above track building techniques are enough to make any track easily sustainable and fun, but Nick has gone one step further and identified specific features of the hillside and worked his track around and over some of the volcanic bedrock that emerges from the top soil, and he has built the track so that confident riders can grab some air launching off these features while the less confident riders have an easy path around. This has meant that he needed to build wooden bridges in a couple of places to make these features safe.

The end result (well almost, Nick is still just finishing a few corners at the very top of the track) is a fantastically fun piece of track. It is fast and flowing with challenging features for confident riders and it is fast and flowing for less confident riders, with options for them to avoidmany of the challenges. The proof of how good this track has become is that many people are now riding this track more than once per ride, and many people are even driving up the hill, parking at the bottom of the track and doing a number of laps of the track. It always used to be more of an XC orientated track, but now even the big DH bikes are being pushed up the access track to have fun on Flying Nun. A 5 or 6 inch travel trail bike is probably the ideal bike to enjoy this bit of track, but everyone from the fully rigid single speeders to the full on DH crowd are loving it. Proof that one man with a vision of how a track should be can get it exactly right.

This video by NoEsc on Vorb is a good demo of what the track is like. The first couple of corners in the video have now been changed to big sweeping corners like further down.

http://www.vorb.org.nz/post2091537.html?hilit=%20flying%20nun#p2091537

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Original Published: 9:00pm Monday, 3rd August 2009 - NZST
Last edited by inzane on Tue 4/Aug/09 8:57am, edited 2 times in total.
inzane
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby Oli on Mon 3/Aug/09 10:08pm

That sounds wicked, Zane, and the description is enhanced by the vid...awesome stuff. :thumbsup:
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby radiusq on Mon 3/Aug/09 10:14pm

Flying Nun is indeed an amazing piece of work. Even more so when as I consider that the colossal improvements made to it over the last year were all the work of just one bloke. Kudos.

I really need to session it sometime as I still can't remember how everything fits together, which has not been helped by the fact that the track has been constantly changing too;) One day I will ride it top to bottom with grace and fluidity:)

....I can't wait to get back on my trail bike. Fingers crossed weather will be good and I'll get up on the hills at the weekend. I haven't been on the trail bike in months:( I am thinking Worsleys, Flying Nun, Vic Park - I've just got to check out Rad^Sick - looks amazing. Yeah, fingers crossed that the weather is good to us this week.
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby grahamt on Mon 3/Aug/09 10:59pm

Great write up Zane. Flying Nun just keeps getting better and better. The original track was good, but pales in comparison to what it has become - and everytime I ride it there is something new.

Great fun at night too! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby slowMTB on Tue 4/Aug/09 8:10am

Nice write up Zane :)

We were doing sessions of The Nun on Sunday too, didn't see ya though. It is a true intermediate track for those who want to step it up IMO.

radiusq - Vic Park tracks are very good right now :thumbsup: . But, be very careful going down "Flow", there is a nasty rut straight down the middle ( plough able on a DH bike but someone went over the bars just behind me on Sunday :o , so beware ).
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby Rik on Tue 4/Aug/09 8:28am

Excellent stuff - Makes me want to go out and appreciate all the hard work. It looks really good even for a pleb of my ability.

love the vid - good choice of mystic music to go with the mist, sweet!
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby radiusq on Tue 4/Aug/09 9:42am

slowMTB wrote:
radiusq - Vic Park tracks are very good right now :thumbsup: . But, be very careful going down "Flow", there is a nasty rut straight down the middle ( plough able on a DH bike but someone went over the bars just behind me on Sunday :o , so beware ).


Cheers for the headsup. That's a fast bit of track to crash out on :crazy:
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby grahamt on Tue 4/Aug/09 11:29am

Got cought out by that rut last wednesday on a night ride - luckily rolled into a nice soft tussock
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby RJD on Tue 4/Aug/09 12:33pm

Lost my Nun cherry on sat, great track looks like its been a labour of love.

Took it realy easy and wimped out of many of the features, will try killing myself more next time...
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby inzane on Tue 4/Aug/09 12:40pm

RJD wrote:Lost my Nun cherry on sat, great track looks like its been a labour of love.

Took it realy easy and wimped out of many of the features, will try killing myself more next time...


Most of the features on the Nun are pretty safe, but it is always a good idea to have a look at what you are going to be jumping off before killing yourself by jumping off it :thumbsup:

Grahamt - I have been seen doing some strange riding just keeping my bike out of that rut down flow. It is no where near as bad as it was last year, but it could do with a bit of fill for the non-steamer type bikes!
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby RJD on Tue 4/Aug/09 12:45pm

inzane wrote:
RJD wrote:Lost my Nun cherry on sat, great track looks like its been a labour of love.

Took it realy easy and wimped out of many of the features, will try killing myself more next time...


Most of the features on the Nun are pretty safe, but it is always a good idea to have a look at what you are going to be jumping off before killing yourself by jumping off it :thumbsup:


Yeah :) Not 100% what I should be doing over some of it though, time for anothr mtb skills course..::D
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby slowMTB on Tue 4/Aug/09 12:49pm

radiusq wrote:
slowMTB wrote:
radiusq - Vic Park tracks are very good right now :thumbsup: . But, be very careful going down "Flow", there is a nasty rut straight down the middle ( plough able on a DH bike but someone went over the bars just behind me on Sunday :o , so beware ).


Cheers for the headsup. That's a fast bit of track to crash out on :crazy:


You're welcome :thumbsup:

Funny thing: I stopped for a friend at Creek Gap and when I spotted him coming down the hill I slowly moved off. A young man ( grom ) came up behind me on his DH bike and asked politely " can I go in front of you" to which I replied " sure " :eh: . Anyway as soon as we hit Flow he took a line to the right ( out of the rut ) and I just ploughed down the rut, the poor fella didn't know what hit em :lol: . I noticed he wasn't keen to hit Double Drop either :lol:

Old and Slow vs Grom = another notch for us oldies :p .
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby inzane on Tue 4/Aug/09 1:11pm

RJD wrote:
inzane wrote:
RJD wrote:Lost my Nun cherry on sat, great track looks like its been a labour of love.

Took it realy easy and wimped out of many of the features, will try killing myself more next time...


Most of the features on the Nun are pretty safe, but it is always a good idea to have a look at what you are going to be jumping off before killing yourself by jumping off it :thumbsup:


Yeah :) Not 100% what I should be doing over some of it though, time for anothr mtb skills course..::D


:lol:

Yep, we can help! The trail master series of courses are ideal if wanting to ride tracks like the Flying Nun well... we do not talk specifically about riding off drops until the 3rd course, but the info provided in each course will help you to take your riding to the next level.

Dates are up on the website if you are keen. http://www.mtbskillsclinics.co.nz/
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby danose on Tue 4/Aug/09 1:14pm

RJD wrote:Took it realy easy and wimped out of many of the features, will try killing myself more next time...


most of it's actually scarier than it looks - I avoid the biggest jumps but there's lots of nice small stuff that even scared old xc whippets can get a wee bit of air on without dying :thumbsup:

I just really need to sort out that tight flat left-hander after the first wooden bridge - really hard to carry speed around that (and you need it for the rocks immediately after)
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Re: Flying Nun Is Goood

Postby inzane on Tue 4/Aug/09 1:20pm

danose wrote:
RJD wrote:Took it realy easy and wimped out of many of the features, will try killing myself more next time...


most of it's actually scarier than it looks - I avoid the biggest jumps but there's lots of nice small stuff that even scared old xc whippets can get a wee bit of air on without dying :thumbsup:

I just really need to sort out that tight flat left-hander after the first wooden bridge - really hard to carry speed around that (and you need it for the rocks immediately after)



I think Nick had intended that the rocks around the top of that corner were to be used as a berm, but most people think the rocks are too scary for a berm and so come in on the flat and then have to turn tight on the flat right where there are a bunch of other rocks sticking up. Not an easy corner that one.

Be a grom and push back up the track to try a couple of different lines on it :thumbsup:
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